Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) was on NBC’s Meet The Press today, where he not only promised to filibuster the public option, but also continued to lie about the public plan. Lieberman said that the public option would not give a single poor person health insurance, and he stuck to his bogus claim that the public option would increase the deficit.
Here is the video:
Lieberman said, “And I’m convinced that the public option, a government-run insurance company–basically, people don’t understand what it, what it’s going to do. It doesn’t offer free insurance. It won’t get one more poor person insurance. It won’t force one insurance company to give insurance to somebody who’s got a pre-existing condition. And it won’t even lower the cost of health insurance, which the advocates said it originally would, because the Congressional Budget Office has now said to us that the public option in Senator Reid’s bill will actually charge more for insurance than the average charge by health insurance companies. What I–I can tell you one thing I’m sure it will do. If we create a government insurance company, it’s going to run a deficit and it’s only the taxpayers who are going to pay for it.”
Apparently Lieberman doesn’t believe the CBO estimate for the Senate bill, which according to Reuters, would cover more Americans and cut the deficit, “The CBO analysis also said the plan would reduce the deficit by $127 billion over 10 years and $650 billion in the second decade while extending coverage to 31 million more Americans.”
Lieberman has been going on national television for weeks now and using any distorting that he can think of justify not only his opposition to the healthcare reform bill, but also his threat to filibuster the bill if it contains the public option. Senate Democrats managed to get Lieberman’s vote to advance debate on the bill, but he is making it clear that the only way he will support the bill is if the public option is removed.
The decision for the Democratic leadership might come down to whether they want to pass a healthcare bill, or their healthcare bill. Lieberman’s threat to filibuster is probably an empty one, but the frustrating thing about Lieberman’s lies is that neither the Senate Democratic leadership, nor the White House has called him on it. If Democrats really want a public option, they need to fight for it, and counter the misinformation campaign of Joe Lieberman.